Winter is on the way, and depending on which part of the country you’re from, you can surely expect some snow and ice. With conditions getting treacherous having to drive for work can get especially dangerous, even if you’re only driving to the office or picking kids up from school. But these trips are often unavoidable, so here are some tips to help you brave the elements.
Get up 10 minutes earlier if you know the conditions are going to be especially bad so you can prepare your vehicle. If you’re struggling to even get in the vehicle because the locks frozen, don’t use your breath to warm up the key as the moisture will condense and can even freeze, instead use a match or cigarette lighter. It is also a good idea to plan your route, as traveling down smaller roads you usually use may not be an option. Even if traffic is worse on a main road it is much more likely to have been gritted, so be aware that you’re journeys are going to take longer but suitable planning can make your journey much safer.
It is best to pull away from stationary in second gear slowly easing your foot off the clutch; this will avoid wheel spin created from high revs. It’s also advisable to wear comfortable dry shoes, rather than unwieldy boots covered in snow that are likely to slip of the pedals. Choosing the right speed is even more important in slippery conditions as going to quickly can easily result in losing control of your vehicle and possibly spinning. But on the other hand going too slow can cause you to lose momentum and come to a grinding halt, resulting in you having to start moving all over again.
It’s best to slow down using the gears when the roads are icy, using the brakes at a high speed are likely to lock the tyres causing a skid. Give yourself an extra two to three times the distance you would normally give to stopping as slowing down gradually is the aim, but if you do begin to slide it also gives you time to regain control. Braking is also necessary, so do this as smoothly possible, but if you do begin to slide release the brakes, de-clutch, and turn into the slide.
It’s also a good idea to make yourself seen in bad weather conditions, so use fog lights or dipped headlights if visibility is poor, but if the visibility improves turn off your fog lights as they can dazzle anyone else on the road. Hopefully with these guidelines all of your forays into the cold will be safe and uneventful.
This was a guest post by Simon Howarth.